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Toronto Needs to Show Up For The CONCACAF Gold Cup

On July 14 the most important game in BMO Field history will be played. Having missed out on the Women's World Cup, this is Toronto's chance to do its part towards the greater goal of improving Canadian soccer.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Retraction: this is not the first Gold Cup game hosted outside of the United States, but is the first hosted in Canada.

Before the 2015 Women's World Cup kicked off there were two major questions on the minds of Canadians. The first was whether or not Canada had any legitimate chance of winning the tournament, once that was answered they wanted to know why Toronto wasn't hosting any games.

The reason for the absence of Canada's biggest city was logical: Toronto was hosting the 2015 Pan/Am Games and BMO Field had been renovated earlier in the year meaning Toronto FC had played very few home games. That didn't stop Toronto columnists or citizens from bemoaning the fact.

Well the good news is, even if Toronto did miss out on one major soccer event this summer, they will host another for the first time on Canadian soil. While the CONCACAF Gold Cup doesn't have the same allure as a World Cup in this country, it could have a similar effect on soccer on Canadian soil.

So if Torontonians and people from the area feel like they missed a chance of a lifetime to watch the national team play in a World Cup on home soil, this is their opportunity to make sure it doesn't just happen once.

Canada has already said it will be bidding on the 2026 men's World Cup. As a result FIFA were without a doubt watching closely to see what Canada brought to the table during the Women's World Cup. From coast to coast Canadian cities impressed, now it is time for Toronto to do the same.

Only one Gold Cup game, on July 14, will be played in Toronto but its importance cannot be overstated. Simply put, Canada versus Costa Rica is the most important game ever played in the history of BMO Field and maybe the most important in the city ever.

Not only will FIFA be keeping an eye on this match to see what Toronto brings as far as a World Cup market goes, CONCACAF will be watching as well. This is the first time Gold Cup games have been hosted outside of the United States.  This is a massive opportunity to showcase Canada as a viable and profitable future host.

It hardly matters if you support, or have supported, the Canadian national team before. July 14 is the chance you could invest in seeing a World Cup in your own backyard for as low as $33. Why not throw on a red shirt when you show up as well.

If you are passionate about seeing soccer move forward in this country, join the ranks of those who have been fighting for the sport for years. For $37 dollars you can join the best soccer supporters section this country has to offer. The Voyageurs will even give you a flag just for coming out.

Canada isn't likely to win this game, Costa Rica might be the best team in CONCACAF and they are one year removed from making the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, where they lost to the Netherlands on penalties.

Instead, it's the atmosphere that could help make this game a win for Canadian soccer, and just by attending you could help claim that victory.

Unfortunately, the timing of this game isn't great in terms of getting national media attention. It is sandwiched in between the Women's World Cup, where most of the Canadian Soccer Association's promotional work went, for obvious reasons, and the Pan Am Games.

The only way this stadium will fill up with Canadian red, is if people can quickly be made to understand the importance of this game. It's worth the effort to try and fast-track that understanding.

This is Toronto's chance to make a statement on behalf of Canadian soccer that has been made this past month by so many other Canadian cities. The more voices make that statement, the louder it will resound throughout the soccer world.